The Carolina Panthers have added another veteran to the wide receiver corps.
The club signed DJ Chark to a one-year contract with $5 million guaranteed, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Friday, per sources informed of the situation. The team later confirmed the signing.
The 26-year-old spent 2022 on a one-year contract in Detroit following a fractured ankle suffered in 2021, ending his campaign after four games. Chark hoped a prove-it-year deal would lead to a long-term contract this season. But his campaign in Detroit was injury-marred again, as he appeared in just 11 games. When on the field, his production was solid if unspectacular, generating 30 catches for 502 yards and three touchdowns in a good Lions offense.
When healthy, Chark still boasts speed on the boundary and solid hands. A magical 1,008-yard, eight-TD 2019 Pro Bowl season showed the upside the former second-round pick brings. Can he turn back the clock four years later?
The Panthers are betting another year removed from the ankle fracture will get Chark closer to that Pro Bowl level.
With a dearth of options on the free agent market this offseason, Chark was among the best available. His skill set meshes well with what Adam Thielen, the club's other recent signing, brings to the table.
The recent additions will help Carolina fill the void left by trading DJ Moore to Chicago as part of the package for the No. 1 overall pick. Neither Chark nor Thielen is the playmaker Moore is, but combined, they provide whatever rookie signal-caller the Panthers select two solid veterans to work with in Year 1.
The additions of Chark and Thielen suggest the new coaching staff isn't exactly enamored with the young players left on the roster from the previous régime. Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault and Shi Smith project to compete for snaps down the depth chart.